Group of Native Hawaiians Seeking To Charter Own CU

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The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs is preparing to submit an application to NCUA to form a new credit union here.

Charles Rose, immediate past president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, told The Credit Union Journal the effort already is more than two years in the making. He said members of the association in August 2003 attended a meeting of the Community Development Financial Institution Fund - a U.S. government entity designed to provide information and assistance to persons interested in starting a community development financial institution for Native Americans.

In 2004, the AHCC received a grant from the CDFI Fund, and began the lengthy process of gaining approval from NCUA. Rose said this included market analysis, gathering data and defining the proposed credit union's field of membership, which must include at least 3,000 people.

"There are many, many hoops to jump through," he said with a chuckle. "The National Credit Union Administration requires we must document the economic capabilities for being a viable credit union. We need a comprehensive business model-which we are in the process of doing. And, our board of directors must be approved-we are putting that package together."

Goal To Raise $3 Million

The new CU also must have sufficient capital, Rose continued. The AHCC so far has obtained pledges from individuals and organizations totaling $1.18 million. He said the goal is $3 million in documented pledges.

The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs includes 51 groups of people of Polynesian descent, Rose explained. "To join the credit union, someone must be a dues-paying member of one of those groups. Most members are Polynesians, but membership is not restricted."

According to Rose, the civic club movement was created to "uplift the Hawaiian people" and provide funding assistance. He said the decision to go through the arduous process of launching a new CU fits with the association's purpose.

"We have never had a credit union designed to help native Hawaiians. Our role is to try to better the condition of our members. If we can pool our resources to help people who need it, that's what we do."

"Credit unions are owned by the members, not the stockholders," Rose continued. "At a bank, if someone has more stock, he has more votes. At a credit union, each member has one vote, no matter how much money he puts in. It is a bonding thing to belong to a credit union."

The AHCC expects to submit its application to NCUA by the end of May, Rose said.

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